Plenty of food, pleasant temperatures and a big turnout highlighted Thursday’s annual Coast Guard Day celebration at Base Elizabeth City.
For Aviation Maintenance Technician Third Class Joanna Knapp, the event was a neat experience.
“We know most everybody here, at least in some capacity,” said Knapp, who is stationed at the air station. “So, it’s kind of cool to get to take a chance to see everybody out of uniforms and just be ourselves, instead of addressing each other as a rank.”
Knapp was one of nearly 2,500 uniformed personnel, contractors, civilian employees and family members estimated to have attended the afternoon gathering, which offered lots of food, games and live entertainment.
Chad Baldwin, who is Base Elizabeth City’s director of the Morale, Well-Being and Recreation Division, said he was pleased with both the turnout and how the event went. Temperatures remained in the low 80s, and there was a breeze to boot.
“We’ve had a great turnout and fantastic weather,” he said. “And it seems like everybody is having a great time.”
Kelly Thorsby, president of the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce, which helps
coordinate volunteers to put on the annual Coast Guard Day event, was delighted with the turnout, calling it the best she’s ever seen. “Everyone is loving giving back to the Coast Guard that’s done so much for us,” she said.
City Manager Rich Olson also was pleased, saying, “Everyone is very positive. Everyone is working together.”
The gathering is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the founding, in 1790, of what today is the U.S. Coast Guard.
Aviation Logistics Center Command Master Chief Clint Self, who has attended numerous Coast Guard Day events at other bases during his 22-year career, said Base Elizabeth City hosts one of the best he has ever seen.
“They do things right,” Self said. “They feed us well. They keep things entertaining and you get to see people outside of work that normally you only see in uniform.”
Self also likes the outreach by Elizabeth City area business and civic leaders and officials.
“I think it’s huge because usually you don’t see this kind of community support (elsewhere) for a Coast Guard Day,” he said.
Dustin Knapp, a yeoman third class who works in personnel and is the husband of Joanna Knapp, said he, too, appreciates the time the local community puts into making Coast Guard Day enjoyable.
“They put a lot of effort into making this a day to remember for the rest of the year and for families to enjoy and for everybody to get a sense of what it is that everybody does on a daily basis,” he said.
The family of Aviation Maintenance Technician Third Class Joseph Moncalieri was clearly enjoying the event.
Moncalieri, who has been stationed at the air station only a few weeks, is stationed here with his wife, Danielle, and 13-month-old daughter, Liliana. The couple is also expecting the birth of a son in late November.
Joseph Moncalieri attended an Elizabeth City Coast Guard Day seven years ago, when he was receiving apprentice level training at the Aviation Technical Training Center. He was impressed then and he was impressed Thursday, saying of the turnout, “I think the entire of E. City came here.”
Coast Guard spouse Danielle Moncalieri agreed, noting she attended Thursday’s event because she’s new to the area and wanted to see and meet new people. She said she’s glad her husband is in the Coast Guard.
“I think he’s pretty good,” she said. “I’ll keep him around.”